Director struck off over health and safety breaches

A director of a Derbyshire-based construction firm has been disqualified from acting as a company director after an employee was seriously injured at work.

Michael Allen, a director at Allen and Hunt Construction Engineers Limited, which specialises in the manufacture and installation of steel-framed agricultural and industrial buildings, has been banned from holding such a position for six years.

One of the company’s workers was undertaking repairs on a farm in Buxton in July 2014 when they fell through the roof, suffering life-changing injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident, finding that the firm had not made health and safety plans for the site, had not properly trained the employee for fragile roof works and the equipment was inadequate and insufficient, given the risks.

The company was subsequently fined £274,671 in respect of three breaches of the working at heights regulations.

In December 2016, Allen and Hunt Construction Engineers Limited went into liquidation, with Michael Allen telling investigators that this was because the firm could not afford to pay the fine.

An Insolvency Service investigation discovered that after the incident a new firm was incorporated, carrying out fabrication services, while the installation branch of the company was wound down.

Investigators found that if the fabrication contracts had remained with the original company, it would have been in a position to pay the fine.

The Business Secretary has now accepted a disqualification undertaking from Mr Allen. This means that he cannot be involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company for the next six years, unless given permission by a court.

Dave Elliott, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “Michael Allen had a lack of regard for the workers, which unfortunately resulted in a horrific injury for one person.

“Directors who fail to adhere to health and safety regulations to protect their employees and then fail to pay the fine can expect to face the consequences of a period of disqualification.”